Between 1900 when the first ship built to take passengers cruising was launched and 1960 when jet travel began to take over over, long ocean voyages were the way most people got from outposts such as Australia to Europe. Many of my friends did the voyage from Sydney to the UK in the 1960s and 70s and it was the beginning of the overseas adventure.
Now it is possible to travel once again between Sydney and the UK (Dover to be precise), though in a very different way to when it was the accepted form of travel. And more and more clients are inquiring about doing this trip.
I have clients sailing this year on the Oriana. A ship with the same name made her first voyage from Southampton to Sydney in December 1960 carrying 2,000 passengers in two classes – first and tourist.
Today the Oriana is rated as a 4-star ship by the Berlitz guide and is described as offering ‘timeless elegance’ – the décor is not overstated. The library for example – is a real one with plenty of books, a librarian and comfortable chairs and tables.
As part of a world cruise Oriana will depart from Sydney on November 4. She will visit many more ports in Asia than earlier cruise ships did, sailing through the Suez canal and the Mediterranean to arrive in Southampton on 17 December in time for Christmas.
Passengers are also booking a similar cruise of the Dawn Princess next year (2011). The itinerary is different as Dawn Princess will stop in different ports, but she will sail much the same route going through the Suez Canal. She departs Sydney on 25 May and arrives in Dover on the 17th July – in time for the English summer.
Dawn Princess is also a 4 star rated ship and Berlitz describes it as having an ‘almost intimate feel’ – that despite it having berths for 2,250 passengers.
If you fancy a leisurely journey to the Old Dart there couldn’t be a better way to travel, arriving fresh and ready to enjoy your destination, as so many have done in years gone by.